Definition of Telehealth
Telehealth allows providers to deliver health and human services to rural areas using a range of technologies.
The Health Resources and Services Administration defines
“The use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote
long-distance clinical healthcare, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health
The National Telehealth Policy Resource Center's Center for Connected Health Policy uses a description that focuses on the intent of telehealth:
“Telehealth is a broad term that encompasses a variety of telecommunications technologies and tactics to
provide health services from a distance. Telehealth is not a specific clinical service, but rather a collection
of means to enhance care and education delivery.”
Though the terms "telehealth" and "telemedicine" are often used interchangeably, the Office of the National
Coordinator for Health Information Technology identifies some key
differences. While telehealth can be used to deliver a broad range of medical care, education, and
public health services, telemedicine typically focuses on exchanging medical information and providing diagnosis
and treatment. The regional Telehealth Resource
Centers provide additional clarity about a framework
for defining telehealth.
The Telehealth Use in Rural Healthcare topic
guide provides a comprehensive overview and frequently asked questions about telehealth.